For those of us perusing a healthy lifestyle, Easter Dinner might seem like a looming hurdle. How can you enjoy the holiday while staying on track? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you experience a guilt-free dinner.
Turkey is a healthier option than ham containing more protein, less fat, and less sodium. Just make sure your preparation doesn’t counteract the health benefits. Avoid slathering the turkey in excessive amounts of butter and oil, and skip deep-frying or brining the meat. Roast your turkey with vegetables, onions, and garlic, and experiment with spices to add flavor.
Discover New Sides
We all love traditional side dishes, but lower-calorie versions can still be delicious. Consider making a healthy casserole loaded with vegetables. Instead of mashed potatoes, make mashed sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower. A healthy fruit salad is a nice alternative to fruit flavored gelatins, which are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. You can also find low-calorie pasta salad recipes. Use healthy substitutes like Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise and sour cream.
Load Up on Veggies
Include at least two vegetable dishes so you can fill up on fiber and nutrients rather than starches and fats. Serve a green salad with light dressing, and a cooked vegetable option like steamed carrots, grilled asparagus, or cooked broccolini. You can also have vegetable-laden appetizers like a relish tray with low-calorie dip.
Portion Your Plate
Start with the healthy foods to avoid calorie overload. Fill half of your plate with vegetables and about 3/4 of your remaining plate with protein. In the remaining space, put the carbohydrates and starches like potatoes, rolls, and pasta salad. Because you’ll be limited on space, you won’t overeat those items. It’s likely you’ll find that just a taste is enough to satisfy the craving. After you finish, have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes before going for seconds. More often than not you’ll realize you’re full already.
Avoid Drinking Calories
Easter Dinner is loaded with calories, so it’s best to avoid drinking high-calorie beverages like juice and soda. Have options like ice tea with lemon wedges, infused water, and healthy “cocktails” such as calorie-free sparkling water with mint and lime. If you want to have a glass of wine, drink it with dinner and make sure you have water as well.
You don’t need to avoid dessert entirely, in fact depriving yourself might cause you to resent your new lifestyle and overindulge later. Allow yourself one tiny piece, about three bites. Take your time and savor every bite. Most likely you’ll find that just a few bites are enough. Sip green tea or an espresso with dessert. Green tea is good for the metabolism and espresso can jump start the metabolism to help your body burn calories.
Add in Exercise
Fit in a workout before Easter Dinner if possible. Exercise will ignite your metabolism so your body can burn more calories. After dinner, invite your family to do something active like taking a walk or playing outdoor games. Several lawn sports such as croquet, bad mitten, horseshoes, and bocce ball are fun for the whole family.
We realize that making these healthy adjustments is easier when you’re the host, but you can still apply some of these tips as a guest. Offer to bring a healthy dish and a fun activity for exercise—rarely will a host turn you down.
Head over to our Facebook page and let us know what healthy alternatives you’ve found for Easter Dinner. Have you discovered a new favorite recipe?